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We know that brushing teeth is the foundation for great oral hygiene. But what about the proper technique for brushing? Many of us assume that a medium-to-tough bristled toothbrush and lots of abrasive toothpaste are the way to go, to scour the plaque off of our teeth. Right?

Wrong. The tools you use do make a difference in your smile, and in fact choosing the wrong ones can do a lot of damage. Let’s review the basics of toothbrushes and toothpastes, to make sure you are choosing tools that benefit your smile.

First, please choose a very soft bristled toothbrush. Far from being helpful, medium- to hard-bristled brushes will actually scrape and damage your enamel, which can open your teeth up to infection and decay. Use short strokes and gentle pressure when brushing–think “massage” rather than “scrub.” Brush for two minutes each session; repeat this twice a day.

There are many options when it comes to toothpaste, and many factors to consider as you decide on the toothpaste you will use.

If you deal with frequent tooth sensitivity or tooth decay, a fluoride toothpaste may be an excellent choice for you. It can help fortify enamel, thus reducing your risk of sensitivity and decay.

A whitening toothpaste can be beneficial to reduce surface stains. It is most efficient at maintaining tooth color after a professional whitening treatment, so if you deal with stained or discolored teeth, be sure to schedule an appointment with your dentist.

If you wear dentures, partial dentures, or mouth guards, choose a non-abrasive cleaner or denture polish. Using traditional toothpaste can damage the appliance.

For more information, call Hanne Dental in Edwardsville, Illinois, at 618-656-9700. Dr. Sharon Hanne and our team are happy to recommend tools for at-home dental hygiene.